MONTREAL (AP) — Cole Caufield scored his first NHL goal 2:25 into overtime and the Montreal Canadiens rallied to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 Saturday night.
Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Petry each had a goal and an assist in the second comeback victory in two nights for Montreal. Cayden Primeau stopped 21 shots.
”(Your first NHL goal) is something you always dream about as a kid," Caufield said, "but to have a moment like that, it’s pretty unbelievable. It still hasn’t hit me yet. I haven’t even seen it, I don’t really remember everything about it. But it was a really special moment and I’m just happy to get those big two points tonight.”
When Caufield got to the Canadiens' dressing room after the game, it was silent.
“We were all waiting for him. And we gave him the silent treatment," veteran defenseman Jeff Petry said with a laugh. "Let him sit there just kinda looking around, a little confused. And then yeah, everyone broke out and congratulated him.”
Tim Stutzle and Thomas Chabot scored for Ottawa, and Filip Gustavsson had 36 saves.
The Senators arrived rested and on a roll. They’d won six of their previous eight games, and climbed out of the North Division basement with Wednesday’s 6-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.
The game was a quick turnaround for the Canadiens after Friday’s come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. That win gave Montreal a six-point lead over Calgary, which played Edmonton later Saturday, for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division. The Canadiens were keen to build on that gap.
Caufield, who was taken 15th overall by Montreal in the 2019 NHL draft, only made his debut last week — the latest big moment in a whirlwind year full of them. Caufield won gold at the world junior championship with the United States in January, and then captured the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top player (with the University of Wisconsin).
“Really happy, happy for the kid,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said. “It’s special to be scoring your first NHL goal in overtime. Happy for the team too, it’s a big win. And know we were resilient, we played with attitude and character, and that’s something that we talked about the last few days. I liked the way we reacted and it was an happy ending for everyone.”
Chabot doubled Ottawa’s lead at 5:51 of the third period off a beautiful backhand pass from Evgenii Dadonov.
“For two periods, we played OK, and obviously in the third period we didn't manage the puck at all," Senators coach DJ Smith said. “We just kept giving it away and changing, didn't make plays. That's not our game.”
Petry sliced the difference in half with his first goal in 23 games at 8:12 of the third. Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom bit on a fake by Petry, leaving him open to fire a wrist shot past Gustavsson.
After a scoreless first period, Stutzle finally got the Senators on the scoreboard at 14:52 of the second period when he snapped a wrist shot from outside the top of the circle over Primeau's glove. The goal was the rookie forward’s ninth of the season and second this year against Montreal. He also has five assists on the season versus the Canadiens.
Nick Suzuki, who’d scored twice in Montreal’s win Friday over the Jets, appeared to tie the game at 10:37 of the third, but after a video review, the goal was called off for goaltender interference, leaving Ducharme shaking his head in frustration.
The Canadiens, with all the momentum, tied it up for real four minutes later. Toffoli took a beautiful pass from Suzuki to connect at 14:25, his 27th goal of the season. Montreal outshot the Senators 18-3 in the third.
Caufield got the winner off a feed from Petry.
Primeau made just his second start in net for Montreal in place of Jake Allen, who had played 12 of the previous 14 games. Primeau also started in a 5-2 loss to Calgary a week ago. His lone career NHL win came against the Senators on Dec. 11, 2019.
The Senators had Gustavsson in net in the latest of their revolving door of goaltenders. Ottawa has used five goalies this season, and recently lost Matt Murray to a lower-body injury.
Montreal captain Shea Weber was out with an upper-body injury, along with goaltender Carey Price (concussion) and forwards Brendan Gallagher (broken thumb). Jonathan Drouin (leave of absence), Paul Byron and Tomas Tatar (lower body) remained out of the lineup with each missing multiple games.
Among the Senators missing were Anton Forsberg (lower body) and Matt Murray (lower body), Joey Daccord (ankle), Micheal Haley (groin), and Austin Watson (wrist).
Ottawa: Host Winnipeg on Monday night.
Canadiens: Host division-leading Toronto on Monday night.